Category Archives: Nature

#278 Duhat

Duhat is cultivated throughout the Philippines. Also known as Java plum, the fruit may have been introduced in the Philippine from the Malayan peninsula. The fruit also grows in Indo-Malayan regions and was introduced into other tropical countries.

The fruit is oval to elliptic, around 1.5 to 3.5 centimetres long, dark-purple or nearly black, luscious, fleshy and edible. It contains a single large seed and the juice of the fruit stains the tongue and mouth a garish purple pink. The fruit is seasonal and often comes with the first monsoon rains in August and September. A popular fruit in the Philippines, the ripe ones are eaten outright or with a pinch of salt. Duhat juice is considered as tasty as grape juice. The juice is delicious and is often used as basis or substitute for grapes in local red wine. Analyses of the fruit show that it is a good source of calcium and iron.

Interest in duhat has been revived in recent years on account of their suggested value in the treatment of diabetes. Studies, however, remain inconclusive. No matter, for the true-blue Pinoy a bowl of duhat is a source of pleasure, reminding one of the cool monsoon rains, breezy winds and the end of a hot, long summer.

Mabuhay ang duhat!

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Nature

#276 Santol

The santol (also known as wild mangosteen, sandorica) (Sandoricum koetjape) is a tropical fruit grown in southeast Asia.

The santol is believed native to former Indochina and peninsular Malaysia. In the Philippines the santol is widely cultivated and is a popular summer fruit often found in many rural markets. There are two varieties of santol fruit, previously considered two different species, the yellow variety and the red. Both types have a skin that may be a thin peel to a thicker rind. It is edible and contains a milky juice. The pulp may be sweet or sour and contains inedible brown seeds.

Santol preserves are also popular in the Philippines. Boiled and marinated in cane sugar and preservatives, the candied or santol preserve is a popular jam or sweet garnishing for local desserts. (Source: Wikipedia)

Mabuhay ang santol!

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Nature

#265 Kalayaan Islands

Philippine navy boats dock on one of the island reefs in Spratly Islands

Spratly Islands (also known as Kalayaan Islands in the Philippines) is a group of about 100 low islands and coral reefs in the central South China Sea, which intersects busy shipping lanes. The whole group is claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, while parts are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. The Philippine claim in the Spratlys or Kalayaan Island group covers eight islands and reefs.

The islands, valued primarily for the petroleum and gas potential of the surrounding waters and to a lesser degree for their fishing grounds, are occupied by their claimants. In 1984 Brunei established an exclusive economic zone encompassing Louisa Reef, but it has not claimed the islet. There have been many disputes and some fighting, most notably between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels in 1988 and 1992. The Spratlys remain a source of tension among the claimants.

A 2002 agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China called for all claimants to avoid activities that would heighten tensions over the islands. In 2004, China and the Philippines signed agreements to stop illegal fishing and to explore jointly for oil in the islands; the bilateral accord was criticized by Vietnam.

About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Brunei has established a fishing zone that overlaps a southern reef but has not made any formal claim. (Source: Excerpted from and other web sources)

1 Comment

Filed under Nature, Places

#260 Kaong

Kaong ( Arenga pinnata) or sugar palm is the fruit of a tropical palm that grows in Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia and India.

In the Philippines the kaong is a popular fruit salad ingredient and is also used as garnish in various iced desserts.  Sweetened and preserved in bottled jars, kaong is glutinous or chewy in texture and has a nutty taste. There are also artificially colored kaong varieties which are popularly used in halo-halo or used as toppings for ice cream and sherbet-based desserts.

Bon appétit!

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Nature

#251 Guimaras

Costa Aguada Resort, Guimaras

Guimaras is an island province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Among the smallest provinces, its capital is Jordan. The island is located in the Panay Gulf, between the islands of Panay and Negros. To the northwest is the province of Iloilo and to the southeast is Negros Occidental.

The province includes the islands of Guimaras and Inampulugan and many smaller islands. Guimaras is well-known for its agricultural crops, particularly mangoes, where some 50,000 of these trees are planted. The Guimaras Island is said to produce the sweetest mangoes in the world and are exported to high end markets. Guimaras’ largest event of the year is The Manggahan Festival (the Mango Festival). The variety of mangoes produced are also best for making dried mangoes, jam and other delicacies.

Guimaras is also famous for its beaches. Clear blue waters, white sand and marine life rivals that of Boracay. Among the popular beaches Roca Encantada, Alubihod and Puerto del Mar.

Mabuhay ang Guimaras!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, Places

#246 Eden Nature Park

Sky riding at Eden Nature Park in Davao

Right at the foot of Mt. Talomo in Davao City’s Toril District is an 80 hectares of man-made nature park that for years has been providing a cool relief from the city’s busy urban life – the Eden Nature Park and Resort.

Popularly known as Eden, the mountain resort offers various attractions, activities, adventures and even a native food experience. At 2,650 feet above sea level, it also offers the best view of Davao City. Visitors to the part can enjoy nature with its vast gardens of organic vegetables, various tropical flora, thousands of pine trees and other plants while enjoying the temperate climate and fresh forest air. For first time visitors, a tour is highly recommended to see the The Amphitheatre, Lola’s Garden, Flower Garden, Plaza Maria, Mayumi’s Well and other spots around. For adventure travellers, the Mountain Trail is a popular activity and destination with facilities for a camp. Other activities include rope gliding Indiana Jones-style, or zipping down the 200-meters zip line tagged as Sky Rider. (Source: Davao Tourism)

Mabuhay ang Eden Nature Park!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, Places

#244 El Nido

El Nido's limestone cliffs (Wikipedia photo)

El Nido is one of the most well known towns in Palawan province located some 238 kilometers northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital city.

With the Sulu Sea in the east, and the South China Sea in the west, El Nido is best known for its stunning beaches, wild life, picturesque lagoons and world-class diving sites. The town is composed of 45 islands and islets, and each has its own unique geological formations. The highest peak is at Cadlao Island, towering up to 640 meters above sea level.

In 1954, the town got its present name, El Nido, after the edible nests of swiftlets (Collocalia fuciphaga), found in the crevices of its limestone cliffs. These nests, “nido” in Spanish, are the main ingredient for the gourmet nido soup which are sold at around US$ 3,000 per kilo. Because El Nido was quite remote from most of the inhabited islands in the Philippines, its pristine beauty was hidden to the world until 1979 when a sea accident occurred in Bacuit Bay. Since then El Nido is one of Palawan’s top tourist attractions and is widely known in and outside the Philippines. (From: Wikipedia)

Mabuhay ang El Nido!

1 Comment

Filed under Nature, Places

#242 Davao Wild Water Adventure

One of Davao’s newest attraction is white water rafting on the Davao River. The three-hour run starts from the highlands of Baguio District, then down to Calinan, and then the lowlands. The day-trip and adventure has about 30 rapids of varying degrees of difficulty. There’s also additional activities for the more adventurous, like cliff-side rappelling. 

The Davao Wild Water Adventure Inc. (Crocodile Park Compound, Riverfront Corporate City, Davao,) is the premier white-water rafting sports facility in the region. The company’s day-trip takes newbies and experienced paddlers on a 15-km adrenalin-rush ride downstream the majestic Davao River. Tourists are given thorough, on-location training on land and in the river, including paddling basics. The river trip promises a row of downstream water adventures, such as swirling waters called “washing machines,” sudden drops, “kiss-the-walls” and more. The five-hour ride also brings adventurers to the rich flora surrounding the river.

Mabuhay ang Davao!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, Places

#238 Mt. Mating-Oy Dinayao

Mt. Mating-Oy Dinayao

Mt. Mating-Oy Dinayao (also locally known as ‘Sleeping Beauty’) are the fabled mountain ranges that border the municipalities of Tinglayan and Tanudan in Kalinga province, northern Philippines. From a distance this lush forest mountain range take the form of a sleeping lady supinely lying its back, giving its popular name ‘Sleeping Beauty.

A vantage view of the profile can be seen from the Sungang view or from Basao. Mt, Mating-oy is a renowned destination for professional mountaineers, hikers and adventure travellers for its maze of jungle, ravines, small creeks, rocky mountain faces, dense forests, wild flora and fauna. Sleeping Beauty was named Mating-Oy Dinayao by the native Kalingas based on a tale about an enchanting lady called Dinayao from the village of Dacalan and her enduring love for her dead lover.

Mabuhay ang Mt. Mating-Oy Dinayao!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, Places

#233 Caramoan

Gota Beach, Caramoan

Caramoan is a town on the Caramoan Peninsula, Camarines Sur province in Bicol, Philippines.

Dubbed as the province’s ‘Hidden Paradise,”  the Caramoan Peninsula has gained tourism popularity in recent years due to its rugged landscape and stunning coastal scenery. And following the media coverage on the peninsula in various news and local television programs, local and foreign travellers started to explore the beaches of the peninsula. Caramoan is now listed in the National Parks of the Philippines.

Popular tourist destinations in the peninsula are the Caramoan National Park, the Centro, and Gota Beach, the latter hugely popular due to its fine white sand beach. Activities for visitors include diving, swimming, snorkelling, spelunking and forest hiking. The 8th season of Koh-Lanta (French edition of Survivor), was shot entirely in Caramoan. The TV director Corinne Vaillant was reportedly impressed with Gota’s “powdery sand, the coconuts on Gota beach and the neighbouring islets,” and the lush tropical forest. 

Mabuhay ang Caramoan!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, Places