More trees planted

Weather has been bringing rain; perfect time to plant some trees!


Trunk full of things to plant!


6 pieces of “Barako” liberica coffee seedlings and 2 saplings of arabica coffee


A dwarf “Betel Nut” Areca palm planted along the fence


First grafted rambutan seedling, planted under a coconut tree


The second grafted Rambutan seedling was planted at the front border in between the Heliconias


The third grafted Rambutan seedling was planted at the fruit forest which I’m building at the back-portion of the lot.


This is a Chico tree planted at the fruit forest. Chico is one of my favorite fruits!


An Arabica coffee seedling planted along the fence


My second arabica coffee seedling joins the mix in the fruit forest


A four-foot tall Marang tree planted in the fruit forest. It’s fruit tastes like a cross of Custard Apple, Guyabano, Jackfruit and a little Durian!


to the left is my friend from Brazil, an Açaí palm tree, growing to its right is a cacao tree (Trinitario variety from Davao) planted a few months ago


A row of “Barako” liberica coffee seedling planted in the front portion of the plot


A lone “Barako” liberica coffee seedling adds diversity to the fruit forest


This grafted Cacao tree (Trinitario variety from Davao) was planted a few months ago. It is being eaten-up by termites.


View from the hill where my fruit forest stands. This was taken at around 6pm


My neighbor, Mang Joel, gave me a live chicken! He told me to eat it!

Coffee harvest for a small batch

Over the past few months, I have seen my coffee trees in bloom. Its flowers are very sweet smelling; like jasmine.

This time, I noticed three trees laden with ripe coffee beans!

Lucky I brought with me a small tub. I used this to contain the beans that I picked.

My method of harvesting was not delicate, I simply held to a bunch then brushed down along the branch to scrape the beans away. At times, a few branches were dismembered from the tree especially when the branch was packed with ripe fruit. It would have been more convenient if I had a tarp or some giant cloth placed under the tree so that the fruit which would fall off my hands can be collected; nonetheless, I was still able to get a substantial amount of beans.

The tub of coffee beans smelled of grass and earth; the smell of my weekend farm! It smelled like the sap of wild growth whenever I slashed them to clear an area or whenever I stepped on them! It smelled like the fresh earth whenever I dig a hole to plant a new tree!

I was so excited to start a coffee project but I just have a vague idea of what to do. I brought the beans back to the city to dry them out under then sun.

When the beans are completely dry, these need to be peeled or de-husked to get the coffee kernel. After which, the coffee kernels will be roasted; perhaps in a pan over a stove since I do not have roasting equipment. After roasting, these will be placed inside a food processor for grinding. After grinding the beans, I plan to place them in small pouches to give away to a few friends.

I hope this works. I’m really looking forward to sharing this!


a blooming coffee tree!

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Ripe fruit on a coffee branch

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another coffee branch with fruit that is more red in color

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Close up of a coffee bean bunch.

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my tub of coffee beans, my method of harvesting was very crude. Notice how the beans come in different colors. I wasn’t so delicate in selecting the ripest fruit, I just yanked the beans from the branches

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every morning the beans are laid out in the sun to dry. This is just a fraction of the amount from my total harvest in the tub.

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on its third day of drying, the husks of the beans are now darker in color….now, to worry about how to peel these :))



I invited a few friends for picnic again.

From the previous picnic, I was convinced that I need to set-up temporary structures to make visits more comfortable. These will allow me to stay longer in the plot and accomplish more work.

By next year I want to build my bamboo hut! But for now, I want to set up a temporary shade area. I also want to make an outdoor shower of some sort so I can clean up before entering my car after working on the plot. I also need to build a toilet so the friends I invite can spend more time in the plot.

We had wine, cheese, some fancy dips and tapenades for brunch. It was hot. There were some ants.

I left my friends under the shade to check the water pipe. I was not present when they installed the pipes but I knew where they laid it. I needed to know what it looks like so I can progress with installing my outdoor shower.

I planned on replanting the pineapple in neat rows. I got help from a few friends who held the machete to slash some weedy patches. It was midday. We went back under the shade.


At 1pm it became cloudy. It began to drizzle. I brought with me around thirty orchid plants. I did not want to bring them home again. My friends helped me attach the plants to the coffee trees.

Drizzle became rain. The rain was as cold as cool drinking water. I told my friends, “I told you it’s cool here!”

How I wish I could watch the rain under a nice shade.


I managed to fill, 2 coffee trees with orchids! One tree was filled with Phalaenopsis schilleriana (was not able to take a photo) but we look forward to having coffee beside it when it blooms by summer next year. This coffee tree had Vanda ustii, Ceologyne aspirate, Dendrobium anosmom var. dearei, Phalaenopsis equestris and Ceratostylis retiquissima



The best surprise during my visit! A wild Phalaenopsis seedling that sprouted on a coffee branch! I have to wait for this plant to bloom before I can identify it. It could be a Phalaenopsis aphrodite, a Phalaenopsis equestris or a Phalaenopsis x intermedia.



Clean up was not the goal for this visit. I just wanted to see the extent of the damage.

I wanted to check which of the few things I planted were damaged by the storm. I was expecting to see impassable roads and felled coconut trees.

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photo taken by Sanndra Orosa

Along with a few adventurous friends, some food, and wine; I brought a ground sheet and a shade cover for our make-shift picnic area.

I thought of sharing a story about cleaning up and re-planting after the storm, but I realized I have not started much yet.

Having looked at how the few plants I planted were faring, the land told me a different story.


I attached some orchids to a coffee tree. Grammatophyllum sp., Coelogyne sp., Dendrobium sandarae var. major., and Phalaenopsis aphrodite


Phalaenopsis aphrodite

The Phalaenopsis aphrodite that was attached to a coffee branch had three fresh sets of leaves and new roots firmly attached to the branch.


Platycerium grande

The Platycerium grande (Giant Stag’s-horn-fern) from Mindanao which I flimsily attached to a coconut managed to stay put despite the strong wind of the typhoon.

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Taiwanese olive tree at the foreground

The Taiwanese olive tree has also sent out a robust set of new leaves. It was lucky that no tree or banana was felled on top of it.

It was not good news for some other plants.


a dried-up Vanda javierae attached to a coffee tree

This Vanda javierae, a native in the mountains of Nueva Viscaya, was struggling to survive in the lowlands of Quezon City. It was attached to this coffee tree a few weeks ago. Now, it finally dried up. Perhaps it really needs higher elevation or perhaps it was too weak when I planted it out here.


a 5-year old Yakal tree, slightly uprooted by the storm

Despite being slightly uprooted, the 7-ft Yakal tree is thriving. With proper support, its roots can be given more time to set itself firmly on the ground.


the felled Tipolo tree

Other then some felled banana trees and coconut saplings; it was this Tipolo tree that was the noticeable casualty of the storm.

Our picnic was pleasant but it could be more comfortable. Perhaps I could use that Antipolo tree to build a temporary shelter.


I found it March this year.

It was a compromise. My resources could only get me to as much. I had to risk getting a parcel of land with difficult documents. I wanted a cool-montane tropical climate at a location that is fairly easy to visit during weekends. I could have waited for a time when I would be more comfortable…but I want this to exist now.

I know that this is a kind of lifestyle I will be doing for the rest of my life.

This has been a private undertaking but I realize that there is a story to share.

I’m excited to allow my story to unfold here; whether, it will be just be very expensive learning experience due to failure or an opportunity for something great!


At one of the many sites I’ve visited when searching for my plot


most of the land parcels sold only have Tax Declaration certificates


The access road to my chosen plot!


Moss growing on a coffee branch indicates a cool and moist climate

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A blooming coffee plant!