13 rich in vitamins fruits that are nostalgic to 90’s kids

Are you one of those kids who climbed your neighbor’s tree to pick fruits? Because I was.  When you were born in the 90’s and grew up in the province, you most likely know the fruits below. They are rich in vitamin C and may bring good old memories.

1. Guava (Psidium guajava)

Let us start with this fruit I still see in the market. I want it ripe but my playmates back then would find it rewarding to have even the baby guavas. Did your parents also boil its leaves to wash you after a fever or use it after your tuli? Old folks in our province use the leaves a lot for medicinal purposes.

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2. Indian mango (Mangifera indica)

I still crave for Indian mango from time to time. I remember when I was a kid, I’d sit under the canopy of our mango tree with a bowl of alamang, soy sauce with hot pepper, or salt. I’d pick those manibalang (crunchy light yellow flesh stage), peel, and dip to my sauce! I can’t help but salivate right now. LOL.

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source: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/737464507715215189/

3. Santol (Sandoricum koetajape)

In our school when I was elementary, there was this santol tree that had lots of fruits every start of classes (around July), we would pick new fallen fruits, squeeze it between our legs to open and then dip it to salt. YUM! In some areas, people make sinantulan (viand made of grated santol flesh with small shrimp and gata).

 

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source: https://www.istockphoto.com/photos/santol-fruits?mediatype=photography&phrase=santol%20fruits&sort=best

4. Duhat (Syzygium cumini)

Remember shaking your stick-o container this fruit and salt? It was fun shaking the bottle, right? Then, you enjoy perfect combination of sweetness, sourness and saltines. Can you still recall how your hand and mouth turned purple?

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source: Pinterest

5. Sampaloc (Tamarindus indica)

Some people only know this fruit from the packaging sinigang mix. Others who experienced picking one may still remember the satisfying sound of the cracking casing of the fruit. We like it ripe if we will eat it raw but our mothers prefer the unripe as part of our favorite sinigang.

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6. Balimbing (Averrhoa carambola)

Grown ups use ‘balimbing’ as an insult or joke to a politician, friend or officemate. It means a person changes allegiances for personal convenience. As a kid we didn’t know that, we just love the subtle sweetness and sourness of the fruit.

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7. Siniguelas (Spondias purpurea)

We rolled the fruit between our hands until it soften. We love it with or without salt. Some hate its big seed others don’t mind. I rarely see this fruit in the market now so I always grab the opportunity whenever I encounter a vendor selling this.

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Source: Facebook Homegrown Organics

8. Caimito (Chrysophyllum cainito)

Star fruit to some but I grew up with Caimito. My classmates in gradeschool would be excited to go out and pick some of the fruits of Caimito. This is also one of those fruits we cracked open between our legs. We scoop it with spoon or just squeeze until the milky and sweet flesh comes out.

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source: https://plantogram.com/product/caimito_purple/

9. Aratiles (Muntingia calabura)

My parents would always warn me not to eat too much of this fruit (because one small and cute fruit houses several thousands of seeds) as it may cause appendicitis but lo behold! No hard scientific evidence proving that eating seeds may really cause appendicitis. Yay! We still have 2 trees of this fruit nearby.

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10. Mansanitas (Ziziphus jujuba)

Just like Siniguelas you roll it between your hands until it softens and ready to eat but this one has smaller seeds. You can actually eat the whole thing even the seeds if you like.    There are trees of this fruit inside the compound where I work and I still enjoy picking and eating some.

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source: Pinterest

11. Berba (Garcinia intermedia)

Not really encountered this one when I was a kid but we this in our office and when my friend from Bicol saw it, he started reminiscing the times they picked Berba fruits not just to eat but also to sell them. Thus, I included it here. It has sour and sweet taste, and you eat it like small version of santol.

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12. Lipote (Syzygium polycephaloides)

This one resembles the look of duhat but is not the same as duhat. But just like duhat, you put it inside a container and add salt then shake. It tastes like mangosteen. I just learned that you can make a good wine out of this fruit.

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source: Pinterest

13. Macopa (Syzygium samarangense)

A bell shape fruit that is abundant during the summer season in the Philippines. The word copa is a Spanish word for goblet and macopa resembles a cup shape if turned upside down. This one is not as tasteful as the other fruits. But I love the crunch you get from each bite you make.

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In this fast pacing world surrounded with technologies, we sometimes crave a simple life we used to live and I hope these fruits somehow allowed you to time travel.

13 things you can do when you are bored

If you are done binge watching your movies/series and found yourself scrolling mindlessly through your social media accounts, you might consider other activities I listed below.

1. Gardening

Turn your backyard into a productive piece of land through gardening. And if you do not have your own backyard, consider doing soil-less gardening. I posted how to do hydroponics and crops you can plant when you are surrounded with concrete. Make sure to check them out on the archive.

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2. Exercise

Burn those unhealthy and extra fats you gained while sitting on the couch, binge watching and eating junk foods. You can either play sports outside (if you have space for that) or just do simple stretching and yoga inside your house. This will boost your mood and strengthen your body.

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3. Read

Whether it is the bible, a journal article, a book, or newspaper, do it – read. Reading does not only build your vocabulary, other benefits include increasing your ability to empathize, preventing age-related cognitive decline, improving brain connectivity, reducing stress, fighting depression and contributing to a longer life.

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4. Attend webinar/s

There are a lot on the web that offers a wide variety of webinars. They are really informative. Make sure to book your slot on the webinar topic you are interested. Do not let your mind be idle for a long time. Unleash your hidden passion you never knew existed until you witness that random webinar.

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5. Apply for an online course

Learning is a continuous process. Do not stop growing. Want to learn programming since your undergrad days? Now is the perfect time. Several institutions offer several online courses for  free (e.g. programming). You are never too old to become the person you have dreamed of.

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6. Write a journal

In this techie world we can just pour out our thoughts to the web. However. there is a spark of joy when we have a pen and a physical notebook (well for me personally). Journaling is said to reduce stress,  improve immunity, keep memory sharp, boost mood and strengthen emotional function. So, why not give it a try? Besides, you have your dusty notebook from your favorite coffee shop.

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7. Paint

Are you into arts? Ever noticed your growing collection of paints and paintbrushes? But found yourself with blank canvas? Well maybe you are too busy at work that you do not have a spare time. Stop scrolling, gather your things, paint and awaken your inner Van Gogh.

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8. Listen to a podcast

Sometimes we become too addicted on our social media accounts that we can’t easily stop ourselves from looking through our newsfeed. Good news! You can hit two birds with one stone. Try listening to an informative or inspirational (your choice) podcast. They are perfect mindless chores and you learn something about a subject.

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9. Cook or bake

Thinking of recreating your favorite meal or dessert from a restaurant because they taste good but they are lacking or in excess of something? Put your phone down, find the recipe, wear your apron and start cooking or baking. You might even exceed the quality of your fave dish, and save money because eating out is not worthy than the skill you mastered. 😉

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10. Learn a new language

Ever thought of watching Kdramas and Japanese anime without reading subtitles. Make it possible by studying Korean language and Japanese language during your extra time. Begin with the basics then transition to complex ones. The world is so big you can study a LOT of languages.

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11. Sing or/and dance

You don’t need to own a Karaoke slot machine to sing nor a set of Xbox 360 to dance. Sing and dance at your own time using your phone. Youtube houses songs with lyrics and Just Dance videos that will guide you to become the next Rihanna. LOL.

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12. Play musical instrument

Do you have a ukulele in your house but do not know how to play it? Or you abandoned your instrument because you always have an excuse not to use it? Put down your phone and pluck the strings of your ukelele. There are online video tutorials to teach you how to play. And if you are an expert, try to learn an new song you haven’t played yet.

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13. Take a nap

And lastly, if you feel tired doing all 12 activities mentioned. Nap. 😀

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Bonus: if you still have energy, why not look for an extra online job?

Quick guide to see Mayon volcano: 6 places to get different views

When I was a kid, I always see Mayon volcano in my Sibika at Kultura textbook. Never in my life I had imagined that I would see this structure in person. Its perfect cone shape has always left me in awe. Took several pictures of it and kept coming back to the place from time to time.

They say it wasn’t as perfect as it used to be because of several eruption that happened. Nevertheless, you will still get amazed by its beauty.

So here’s a very quick guide on how to go to Albay and see the picturesque Mayon volcano:

From Cubao, ride a bus going to Legazpi. You can drop off to these places:

1. Guinobatan

See Mayon volcano while enjoying the town of Guinobatan. They have good food and good people. There are also several ukay-ukay shops in the town proper selling very cheap second-hand treasures.

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Personal favorite: chicharong bulaklak meal at Bigmike’s Acacia fast food.

2. Camalig

Ask the driver if he knows Albay Agri Ethno Eco Village in Camalig (Agri Village) if he doesn’t know, use your Google map. From the Agri Village you will walk for 5-minutes to get to Sumlang lake and have a good view of the lake, rice field and Mayon.

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Personal favorite: abaca furnitures on bamboo rafts (you can sit on the furnitures and ride the rafts). Do not forget to try the famous ‘pinangat’ dish.

3. Daraga

This is the way you will see Mayon when you are at Our Lady of the Gate Parish in Daraga, Albay. Drop off at Daraga Municipal Hall and walk your way to the church. It will require you a little hilly trek but it will be worth it.

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Personal favorite: the architecture of the church and the panoramic view of Mayon

4. Cagsawa

The way Mayon is seen in books is usually with this one. Tell the driver to drop you off at the road going to Cagsawa (landmark: a replica of Cagsawa church). Hire a trike to get you to Cagswawa Ruins. Unfortunately, the beautiful clouds covered the view. LOL.

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Personal favorite: ATV rides and souvenir shops.

5. Legazpi Boulevard

You drop off at Legazpi Grand Terminal and ride a jeepney or tricycle going to Embarcadero and then to the boulevard. Get a good view of the Mayon in the port. There is also a LEGAZPI signage there you might want to get a picture with.

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Personal favorite: Sili Ice Cream of the 1st Colonial Grill. They also have other unique ice cream flavour like cocoa and calamansi ice cream.

6. Ligñon Hill

Drop off at Albay Park and Wildlife (you can also add this to your itinerary). Then ride a motorcycle going to the hill. If you have extra time and energy, then you can trek to get to the top (make sure to bring extra shirt and water).

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Personal favorite: a panoramic 360-degree view of Legazpi City, Daraga, Albay Gulf, and the Mayon Volcano.

 

 

 

9 gardening mistakes you should avoid

How’s your garden right now? Some will say their crops are doing great – CONGRATULATIONS! Achievement unlocked. Unfortunately, the others are sad they did not even reach the flowering stage of their plants. Do not envy their green thumb, you are probably doing some of the following gardening mistakes:

1. Not knowing your crop

If you’re a beginner gardener, you just can’t go to the nearby agricultural supply store, buy seeds, plant and expect to have the best harvest. Just like any venture, you need to study your chosen crop/s, their growing requirements, harvesting time (to name a few).

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But hey, don’t spend too much time researching everything about that single crop that you end up late to actual gardening. Start from the basics and earlier crop growth stage of your plant and you’re ready to go. Then you can just continue your research while the crops are progressing. Besides, learning is a continuous process.

2. No soil assessment

Cassava can thrive in adverse conditions. But, you will observe a significant higher root yield of the same variety planted in a sandy loam soil over the clayey soil. This is simply because roots do not need to exert extra effort to dig deep and grow in a sandy loam soil than the compacted clayey soil.

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You don’t need to go to a laboratory to test them (though if you have the resources, I encourage you to do so). I just want you to assess your soil. Color can be assessed visually while texture can be determined using the ‘feel method’ (search the net to know how easy it is done). Knowing the soil color can give you an idea of the fertility of your land and texture will determine the best suited crops for that soil.

3. Fertilizer-related mistakes

You do not just buy any fertilizer and apply all of them to your crop. I have a separate post on that matter here (8 fertilizer-related mistakes: what would possibly happen and how to avoid them?)

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When you apply fertilizers wrongly, you are not only jeopardising the growth of your crop, you are also posing a negative effect to the environment.

4. Watering too less or too often

I said before that plants are made up of 85 – 95% water and they badly need it to do all the process. But hey, do not water them less nor more than they need. Some plants are water loving while others can thrive even with 1 cup of water in a month.

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Also, if you are gardening outside, make sure to check the weather forecast for probability of rainfall. If there’s a high chance of rain, consider abandoning your plan to water your plants.

5. Removing all weeds or not removing them at all

Weed management is an essential part in gardening – they can reduce productivity of your crops or when well-managed, will be beneficial to your plant.

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They affect your crops through competition. Weeds like your crops need sunlight, water and nutrients. Too much weeds would mean too much competition to your crop. Make sure to remove them it they are already covering large areas of your field. Although completely removing the weeds is pleasing to the eyes, it will require additional labor. Total absence of weeds will also mean that your crop will only be the host of your pests.

6. Spraying too much pesticide

Some newbie gardeners would likely consider spraying pesticide once they see their crops being eaten by some naughty borers. If you see this before getting your spray bottle, think again. Are they still manageable? If yes, then put that pesticide back to your cabinet.

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Assess first your garden. If pest damage is not that many, then try other control measures like manually removing the insects and infected area or putting some trap crops (plants in the same family of your crop planted side by side with your main crop). Pesticides are harmful to you, your friendly beneficial and natural enemy insect and the environment.

7. Absence of record book

You do not necessarily need a fancy notebook. An ordinary one will do. This will be your gardening diary. You write your observations. The things you did right and those that aren’t so right. LOL.

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Every cropping season you will learn things from the way you managed your crop. You will surely make mistakes and it’s ok because you learned. Let this lesson/s be recorded. This will serve as your reference whenever you make future decisions to you garden. Try not to make the same mistake twice. *wink*

8. Early or late harvesting

That is why I always say that you should know your crop. The days to harvest after planting is also a crucial part of your gardening. Do not allow your good-looking lettuce to taste bitter because you harvest them 50 days after you transplant. Early or late harvest time may affect the quality of your produce.

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And if you are after viable seeds, make sure to look at their physiological maturity. Some seeds will not germinate when harvesting seeds prematurely. Timing is everything. Just like in love. LOL. ❤

9. Direct sunlight

Just like water, plants need light to PHOTOsynthesize. Plants can be sun- or shade-loving meaning they grow better when they are under the sun or under other plants, respectively.

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Do not wonder why your baby pakchoi died when you place them under scorching sun. And do not ask yourself why your cassava didn’t grow well under the tree. Make sure to place each crop of your choice to location they will love. 🙂

Scientific name of crops mentioned in the song ‘Bahay Kubo’

During my undergraduate days, it is required to memorize some scientific names of plants and animals. It was fun knowing their names. So, I decided to dig in the ‘Bahay Kubo’ song for the crops mentioned and put their scientific names.

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Lyrics

Bahay-kubo, kahit munti
Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari
Singkamas (Pachyrhizus erasus) at talong (Solanum melongena)
Sigarilyas (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) at mani (Arachis hypogaea)
Sitaw (Vigna unguiculata spp. sesquipedalis), bataw (Lablab purpureus), patani (Phaseolus lunatus)

Kundol (Benincasa hispida), patola (Luffa cylindrica), upo’t (Lagenaria sinceraria) kalabasa (Cucurbita maxima)
At tsaka mayro’n pang
Labanos (Raphanus sativus), mustasa (Brassica juncea)
Sibuyas (Allium cepa), kamatis (Lycopercon esculentum), bawang (Allium sativum) at luya (Zingiber officinale)
Sa paligid-ligid ay puno ng linga (Sesamum indicum)
——
Scientific names are important to allow people throughout the world to communicate unambiguously about different species. Isn’t it interesting and fun to know the scientific names of the plants in our classic ‘Bahay Kubo’ song?
The vegetables in the lyrics are rich in nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Make sure to eat veggies to strengthen your immune system.

 

Must visit places when you are in Bicol

Nope. I am not from Bicol nor too near from the region. I am located 8-15 hours away but nonetheless fell in love with the place. I’ve been travelling the Philippines for quite some time and this region has a special place in my heart. And after the crisis and when everything is okay, you might consider these places and who knows you might also find yourself falling in love with their people, food and view.

1. Cagsawa Ruins

The remnants of a 16th century Franciscan church built in the town of Cagsawa in 1587 will make you reminisce your ‘Sibika at Kultura’ book (well for me that was what happened).

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This is a popular attraction and historical landmark in the province of Albay. From this point, you can see the beautiful Mayon volcano (they say if you see the volcano completely cloudless, you’ll marry a Bicolano/a). Well in my case, look at that clouds that hid the view of Mayon. LOL.

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Upon entry, you will need to pay entrance fee. Aside from enjoying the view, you can also ride an ATV (PhP 500-1000), eat sili ice cream and buy some souvenirs.

2. Sumlang Lake

One of the newest attractions in Albay. Ride a bamboo raft and enjoy the relaxing view while traversing the 9-hectare swamp.

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This place was once just filthy waters covered with water lilies. It was ignored for years. But, residents decided to develop the place and I guess they made the right decision. The ugly duckling Sumlang lake is now a beautiful swan. Isn’t it inspiring?

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If you are not a fan of moving bamboo rafts, you can just sit on those abaca-made furnitures and admire the majestic view of the lake and Mt. Mayon. Food stalls and souvenir shops are also present near the lake.

3. Deer Farm

Ever dreamed of seeing Santa’s deer? You do not need to go to North Pole or wait one miraculous Christmas Eve (LOL) to see them. This deer farm is located in Ocampo, Camarines Sur just at the foothills of Mt. Isarog.

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The farm was established by the local government of Camarines Sur in 1996 for commercial purposes. You do not need to pay for an entrance fee but you can donate for the maintenance of the place. Bring food and water when you go there because there are very few stores in the area.

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You can literally have a close up encounter with the deer. They are so tamed you can even take a selfie beside them. Expect the ‘deer’ smell. BTW, Ruldoph the red nose reindeer wasn’t there if you’re wondering. LOL.

4. Lola Sayong

If you are the type of person who does not like crowded surfing camp, then this place is for you. Their surfing instructors and lesson are beginner-friendly. I do not know how to swim and it was my first time surfing  but still I was able to do it after a few tries. My instructor was surely very patient that time! LOL.

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I just love the vibe of the place. The resto’s interior is superb – they even have books to read as you wait for your food or  if you are just resting after a day’s surf. They also offer decent rooms for accommodation.

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Wake up with a beautiful sunrise and let the waves sing a lullaby as you go to sleep. You couldn’t resist staying outside at night watching the stars while hearing the sound of the waves and the wind as if they are singing a duet.

5. Daraga Church

If you failed to see Mt. Mayon with cloudless sky at the Cagsawa Ruins on your Bicol Trip Day 1, consider inserting this one to you itinerary. This Roman Catholic Church built in 1772 is located in the town of Daraga, Albay or just 9.8 km away from Cagsawa Ruins (around 20mins away if you are riding a car).

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Admire the the mix Mexican Baroque and reconaissance Gothic architecture of the church. Let your worries be washed away with the peace the place offers. You can even say a prayer.

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In 2007, the site was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute. This spot is perfect for those thinking of a budget-friendly and easy-to-go travel destinations in Bicol.

6. Caramoan

Are you fond of the show ‘Survivor’? If yes, you’ll know why this destination is one of the known tourist spots in our list.

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You have 2 ways to choose on how you want to go to this tropical paradise when you are already around Bicol Region. First is by water wherein you ride a speed boat at Sabang port (takes 1.5 to 2 hours). Second is by land – from Cam Sur, you need 3.5hrs to get there and the road is kinda bumpy. I highly suggest that you choose the first one.

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Do not just search for ‘Survivor: Caramoan’, pack your bags and experience what the ‘tribe’ had. The clear water, rich seafood and beautiful rock formation will be more than enough trade to your 10-12 hours travel.

7. BIGG’S Diner

It is the biggest food chain in the region which offers a wide variety of food selection. Satisfy your craving for Bicol flavours and American food. You do not just get a full and happy stomach upon dining, the vintage design of the place will feed your starving eyes (and IG page).

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The food chain was born in 1983 and in 3 years time, they will celebrate its 40 years. If you are curious, BIGG stands for Beautiful, Intelligent, Gorgeous, and God-fearing.

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For some it is just a where-to-eat-in-Bicol destination – well, partly true. Still, this is a must visit place when you are in Bicol.

8. Ligñon Hill Nature Park

Ligñon Hill is a prominent hill in the city of Legazpi. It is known as the city’s protector as it serves as barrier against the lava and lahar during times of eruption and heavy rain.

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The recreational park that sits in an elevated place offers views of the entire Legazpi City and Mt. Mayon.

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You need to pay PhP 20 in the main gate before entering. The things you can do there include souvenir buying, relaxing while sight seeing, zip lining, and hanging bridge crossing.

9. Calaguas

Are you a city dweller and backpacker seeking to be away from everything? Situated in the province of Camarines Norte, the site is perfect for camping and swimming.

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Calaguas is a group of islands comprised of Tinaga Island and Guintinua Island, and other minor islands. You can find the famous Mahabang Buhangin in Tinaga Island.

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Before sunrise, you can exercise and do a light trek to Calaguas Hill and get vitamin D through healthy sun exposure.

 

The places listed in here are the ones I visited myself. There’s a lot of treasure to explore in Bicol – they have so many beautiful beaches, mountains, hills, restos, lakes, rivers and parks.

 

Milk Tea Pearl Farming: How to grow tapioca/cassava?

Did you know that your favourite milk tea tapioca pearls came from trees? LOL. Just kidding. We do not pick the pearls from a tree.

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Tapioca or cassava is a perennial woody shrub which has diverse usage – from feed, food to other industrial purposes.

Here’s a quick guide on how to grow your pearls.

1. Choosing growing area

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Cassava plants love fertility, sandy loam to clay loam soil with medium  soil fertility. The area should also have enough water and good drainage.

2. Land preparation

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If you are just going to plant less than 10 plants, you just need to remove weeds, loosen the soil and dig a shallow hole (with 1 m distance from one another). Large scale farming which involves hectarage of land will require you to use tractors to implement plowing, harrowing and furrowing. You also have to create shallow holes. Distance between furrows is 0.75 – 1 m.

3. Preparation of planting materials

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Choose healthy and free from insects and diseases planting materials. In cassava production, stems are used as planting material. Cassava with low cyanide should be your choice if you are going to use it as food (e.g. milk tea pearls). Cut the stems into pieces (20-25 cm long).

4. Planting

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Distance between plants or the distance between holes is 1 m. Put ample amount of fertilizer (i.e. 14-14-14) and cover it with soil before putting the cuttings, then cover again the cuttings. You can place the cutting horizontally, vertically or slightly inclined if the soil is dry, wet or has enough moisture, respectively.

5. Irrigation

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If irrigation is not available, try to plant when the soil is still moistened or when there was rain a few days before planting. Irrigation can be done after planting and during the vegetative stage of the plant. Cassava can thrive in adverse condition but if you want to get optimum performance from your plant, you need to provide them with best cultivation practices.

6. Fertilizer application

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Application of fertilizer can be done before planting (you can use 14-14-14) and during the vegetative stage (or 2 months after planting, use 46-0-0) of the plant. But, cassava can still grow even in low fertility soil.

7. Pest management

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Weeds, insects and diseases are the things you need to look out as it will significantly affect your harvest. Weeding can be done 2 months after planting and before harvesting, and when necessary during the entire growing period – be very careful in removing the weeds.

On the other hand, the common insect pests of cassava are leaf miners and red spider mites, most cassava plants can survive despite the attack of this pests. Applying insecticides should be the very last thing you will consider in controlling these insect pests.

For the diseases, try to plant clean materials and in areas with no known disease/s. One of the diseases you should look out for is the witches’ broom disease. The disease can drastically decrease your yield.

8. Harvesting

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Harvesting can be done 8-12 months after planting. Each cassava plant can be uprooted manually or harvesting rod can be used. Be careful not do damage the roots.