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


Plants in the city

I have not visited my weekend farm for a long time already; but I would like to share some interesting plants flowering in the lowlands of Manila.

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a clump of Vanda lamellata var. remediosae with four flowering spikes. These are native to the Batanes group of islands, particularly in Calayan Island. At Manila, this plant is placed at an area which gets the most sun.

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I’ve kept this Tillandsia xerographica for a few years already. Once its flowers wither, the plant will die and I expect to get a few juvenile plants from this.

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Not sure about the species but it think this is a Coelogyne marmorata. This is a huge clump of plant; twice bigger than a basketball! It only produces few and small flowers. They still look interesting though.

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My Coelogyne usitana is a small plant with around 3-4 psuedobulbs. (stems) This is a photo of a bud about to open

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Coelogyne usitana flower upside-down. These plants are found in Mindanao


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.


A new Vanda lamellata variety from Mindoro?

I attached some Vanda lamellata plants to this coffee tree a few months ago and now a lot of them are flowering.

One plant which came from Mindoro looks very distinct.

It definitely does not look like the variety from calayan islands nor the type species.

But it does resemble the variety remediosae and variety boxalli a bit.

I wonder if this could be new.


The coffee tree where a few Vanda species were attached


a Vanda lamellata (the normal variety or type species) which had flowers


This is a strange variety of a Vanda lamellata originating from Mindoro. It does not clearly resemble a Vanda lamellata var. boxalli nor a Vanda lamellata var. remediosae


close up of the Vanda lamellata from Mindoro. It fragrance was really strong

The first Vanda lamellata

This is the first Vanda lamellata to bloom in the weekend farm!

The plant was a cutting separated from a clump of Vanda lamellata var. remediosae which originated from the Calayan islands in North Luzon.

…the original clump had flowers that looked like the photo below:


Vanda lamellata var. remediosae from Calayan islands (photo taken at the plant shop)


I attached the stem cutting to a coffee tree at the weekend farm around two months ago.

…looking at the blooms, it seems to be more similar to the “boxalli” variety.

perhaps the cold weather made it evolve into a different variety at an instant?

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photo of the buds with an insect taken on Nov 2. (a month ago)


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Vanda lamellata var. remediosae. Photo of the flowers yesterday at my weekend farm… flowers already look a bit spent.

I took photos go the same plant yesterday and the plant is really a Vanda lamellata var. remediosae. The photo above (using a camera phone) just made it look like Vanda lamellata var. boxalli. Below are photos using a better camera 


photo of the same plant, taken yesterday


It only has a few flowers left

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.



All Soul’s Day weekend at the farm

I was worried about the possible heavy traffic on the road due to people visiting the cemeteries, but I drove to the farm anyway.

The drive was actually swift, there were fewer jeeps and buses on the road.

For the second time, my car was full. I had to fold the backseats so that I could fit the logs of Dracaena (Yucca) in my car. I collected these just last weekend. The goal for this visit was to continue where I left-off from the green fence planting.

Lucky, I wasn’t working alone. My friend Gab was visiting Manila for a few days, he phoned me since he wanted to check on the farm plot while he’s here. So, just like that, I got help.

We started planting at the back portion of the lot. Planting the first five logs was quite fast since the area was a bit clear.

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The spiky plant on the right portion of the photo is the Dracaena tree. It was planted in-front of the “muhon” at the back portion of the property

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Planting the next few logs was a breeze…

Before this, It was difficult to determine the boundaries at this portion of my property. While digging, I found patches of ginger. I plucked a stem for me to take home.

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the uprooted stem came out with this root system… to be used for curry!

As we continued, the land started to slope down, the soil became harder, and the area was overgrown with coffee, banana and weedy vines. It would take more time and more people to clear and plant on this area.

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The land started to slope… planting became more challenging

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…and so the jungle introduced itself!

It was noon…so we deserted this task.

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These unplanted logs will not dry-up quickly.. I’ll plant them when I return.

Before leaving, I proceeded to attach some orchids that I brought. I also checked on the other orchids that I planted just two weeks ago. These are probably the easiest to plant; I just tie these on to some coffee trees.

It’s a delight to do this since it makes me feel that I’m “moving” the land. It also gives me something new to check-up on every time I visit.

I really need to move the land more though… But for now (and for the past few months) I’m glad that I’ve gotten to know the land well.

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The violet and silver blotched leaves are Phalaenopsis schilleriana while the spiky and floppy ones are an unknown Vanda species from Nueva Viscaya (probably Vanda barnesii or Vanda javierae)


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This plant is a Ceratocentron fesselii from Nueva Viscaya, the whole plant is just about the size of a 5-peso coin

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This is a juvenile pitcher plant (Nepenthes alata) from Mindoro. When i planted it here it had no pitchers…now it has produced a pitcher trap!

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Another coffee tree filled with Vanda lamellata, Vanda roeblingiana, Aerides quinquevulnera, and a Phalaenopsis stuartiana, all wild, and native orchids




What’s growing on the coffee trees?

During the last visit, I checked on the plants that I attached on the coffee trees.

Weeks prior this visit, I planted more than thirty seedlings of Vanda sanderiana, also known as Waling-waling which Joy gave to me. I checked them and they all seemed to be doing fine; there was no sign of dehydration, but no sign of new roots and leaves yet. The leaves turned into a reddish color, perhaps this was caused by the strong light and the cool weather.

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notice the reddish brownish hue on the leaves

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another waling-waling seedling which looks more red


Weeks prior planting the Waling-waling seedlings, I attached some Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants. All of them grew thick roots attaching themselves to the branches. Most of them are developing spikes which will show flowers soon! Since plants are not yet well established, it’s very possible that they won’t produce a lot of flowers. I want to plant more of these, so next year the coffee trees will look like cherry blossom trees.

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notice the thick roots on the branch, the roots look like slugs

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around 10 of these plants will be flowering soon

Apart from checking the things I planted, I added a few more species!

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These are Bulbophyllum lobbii from Palawan, these shrunk in QC so I transferred them here

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This is an Aerides quinquevulnera var. purpurata from Mindoro

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This is a Phalaenopsis amabilis from Palawan

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These are Phalaenopsis aphrodite from Quezon (two plants have redder leaves while the 2 have green leaves) Those plants growing in baskets are Phalaenopsis bellina from Malaysia

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This is a coffee tree filled with Dendrobium anosmum