Planting continues

Over the weekend, I did a few more plantings for my weekend farm.

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a peach/pink Mussaenda philipicca planted in between the heliconia plants

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a dark pink Mussaenda philippica

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a white Mussaenda philippica along the barbed fence

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at the rightmost and the leftmost are cacao seedling planted a few weeks ago, in between are new plantings of Mussaenda philippic and a Lanzones seedling

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a second Lanzones seedling

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from left to right: the third Lanzones seedling, a giant custard apple sapling, and the cacao seedling planted a few weeks ago

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This coffee tree used to be filled with at least 7 species of native orchids. It was stripped bare by orchid bandits a few months ago. I planted clumps of Vanda lamellata on this tree. (Notice how the powder puff tree and the Dracaena multiflora are all growing nicely!)

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This coffee tree used to be filled with Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants and Vanda javierae plants. The orchid thief stripped this tree bare a few months ago, now I’ve planted some Vanda lamellata on it.

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Mang Joel has done a great job of cleaning the area and keeping the weeds from growing tall. The front-half of my weekend farm now looks cleaner. If you look closely, you will already see seedlings of vegetables growing!

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work in progress! The middle portion of my weekend farm is still being prepared by Mang Joel for planting

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Upo (Bottle Gourd) seedling growing on my weekend farm

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corn seedlings sprouting from the ground

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Sitaw (string beans) also sprouting from the ground

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A pleasant surprise. This Phalaenopsis linden grows at the mountain regions of North Luzon at elevations more than 1000 mask. This plant has survived the orchid looters and has been growing in my weekend farm for a year. This is its first blooms in my weekend farm

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flowers of the Phalaenopsis lindenii up close

Plants this Easter!

Some more plants blooming this Easter. These plants are growing in the lowlands of Metro Manila.

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This Vanda lamellata var remediosae is different from the other remediosae varieties. It has longer and more slender leaves and it has a longer flower spike!

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Same plant pictured above. Vanda lamellata var. remediosae

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Dendrobium anosmum. These normally flower during February, weird weather has caused them to bloom late this year. 

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A Phalaenopsis stuartiana, with small but rounder flowers

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not sure if this is Phalaenopsis hieroglyphica or Phalaenopsis lueddemmaniana or a natural hybrid of the two

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Phalaenopsis bastianii


The Orchid Thief

I’ve been using an orchid as litmus.

It may not be the best method; and definitely not the most scientific, but this is just for leisure! I’ve planted a lot of Phalaenopsis schilleriana orchids and these continue to give me an indication of the climate in my weekend farm.

Firstly, these plants need to receive enough moisture to survive. For now, I can only visit the farm during my free weekends which means that I’m incapable of watering my plants regularly. Also, I can’t afford a caretaker to live at my plot; hence I’m at the mercy of nature for now. So far, the orchids I have planted have grown roots and a lot of them are actually blooming! Apart from those, I planted fruit trees like cacao and mangosteen and these are growing without watering.

More than that, these orchids gave me an indication of what other crops I can plant. Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants will only bloom in cooler weather. This means that I can try to grow cooler weather crops (at least relative to my location here in the tropics) like more exotic/non-local fruits and vegetables.

These plants have been in my plot for months, and a few plants have just been in flower recently. Apparently, it has caught the attention of a few people who may have chanced upon my area. During my last visit I found that two plants which were in flower have been plucked from the branches. I wasn’t surprised that this happened; but now I realize that my area is too open and some people might think it’s alright to pluck a few plants for them to take.

And so this plant is telling me to do something about it.

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the first plant that was plucked by a stranger… see how the roots got severed and the twine was still there


during my last visit, this was the photo of the plant which existed on the branch, but now it’s gone, taken home by someone

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Plant number 2 gone… this time the roots were almost cleanly taken out (notice the white stuff on the upper left portion on the right bump on the branch – those are the remains of the attached roots which were plucked)

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This plant is still at the branch and will be in full bloom soon, I’m glad it wasn’t taken by the person who got the other plants

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close-up shot of the flowers

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another plant in bloom

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this Vanda lamellata var remediosae was almost plucked from this coffee tree. I guess the person felt bad that he might be getting too much already :))

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Some newer Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants which I attached to a coffee tree a few weeks ago. These are now showing signs that they’re about to flower

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This Phalaenopsis aphrodite is also about to bloom

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Phalaenopsis amabilis from Palawan also about to flower

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This Phalaenopsis lindenii thrives at a higher elevation, but it is also about to send out flowers

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A newly planted Phalaenopsis stuartiana

It’s interesting that someone has found plants growing on my weekend farm attractive!

I just continue to hope they’ll admire it and not take plants from my weekend farm. Still, I should work on that nice looking bamboo fence already :))



The first Phalaenopsis plants

I’ve planted several local species of Phalaenopsis.

These are the first ones to flower at my weekend farm.


Phalaenopsis schilleriana: the common tiger orchid. I planted a lot of these; by next year they will make some trees look like cherry blossoms!

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Phalaenopsis equestris from Quezon – it’s a very small plant, its flower is just a little larger than a pencil eraser. It’s fun to do macro shots with these small things.


The other tiger orchid, Phalaenopsis stuartiana

In Southern Luzon, tiger orchids are very popular. Its scientific name is Phalaenopsis schilleriana. These orchids captivated  me as kid. It had leathery leaves that reminded me of elephant ears and its leaves were stripped  with silver and purple. These never flower in the lowlands since they need cooler temperature to bloom, but a lot of people still keep them anyway.

I was fascinated growing them since its leaves and roots looked wild.

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a Phalaenopsis schilleriana, the common tiger orchid growing on my weekend farm. These plants will produce flowers soon!


flower of the Phalaenopsis schilleriana, taken a few years ago. The plant, which I bought already with flowers, lived for a bit in the city, but it died a few months later.

This tiger orchid, Phalaenopsis schilleriana, is definitely more common. It produces pink flowers that sometimes smell like cotton candy. I’ve planted a lot of these in the coffee trees and I want to plant more because the coffee trees will look like cherry blossoms when these are in bloom.

The other tiger orchid is the less common Phalaenopsis stuartiana.

I saw a few plants of Phalaenopsis stuartiana at the sunday market a few weekends ago, so I bought two plants.

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this Phalaenopsis stuartiana plant is less common. It stayed in the city for a bit before I planted it in the farm

Instead of pink flowers the Phalaenopsis stuartiana has white flowers. When not in bloom, it’s close to impossible to distinguish it from the more common tiger orchid (Phalaenopsis schilleriana)… but I noticed that this plant might have rounder and greener leaves.

Last week during my weekend farm visit, I planted the two Phalaenopsis stuartiana plants on their coffee trees.

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The first Phalaenopsis stuartiana plant was planted in the middle of two Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants. It’s flower is spent and its leaves yellowed.

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the second Phalaenopsis stuartiana also had 2 flowers when it was bought.

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When I planted it on the weekend farm, it already lost its flowers. It was planted on a different coffee tree.




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.