Last July my sisters, daughters, and I visited Baguio City, staying at my aunt’s vacation home in a quiet part of town. She has a magnificent garden. I fell in love with it.
You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.
~ Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons (1964)
The temple bell stops
But I still hear the sound
coming out of the flowers.
(Click on each picture, then click again to see full size.)
Hong Kong in winter, right after the Lunar New Year but still during the celebration, was a a feast of color and texture.
Flowers along Canton Road.
More color comes from other things – seals at a stall at the Stanley Street Market, for instance.
The seals (yin) are usually of marble or other stones, or plastic. They will be carved with a person’s personal name for use on official documents (chop), using an ancient script form. Seals may also be engraved with corporate names and studio names. For the tourist market, seals are carved with the person’s name in Anglo and Chinese and are not for official use.
The seals come with Chinese zodiac animal finials while some are plain cylinders. Those are only for Chinese names; Anglo names would not fit.
Metal exercise balls for the hands.
Last weekend, Alex attended an expo at the Philippine Trade Center with her Botany class, and came home with a camera full of pictures of flowers and beasts.
A turtle, masses of orchids, a rufous hornbill, pots of herbs, an owl perched on her shoulder, the vibrant fuschia hue of a blossom – all caught her eye.
She wanted to buy a pot of rosemary because it reminded her of her sister (Ik’s second name is Rosemary) and because it smelled aromatic and sweet when crushed between her fingers – but she was afraid there would be no place for it to thrive in our tiny home.
She wanted to buy a grass snake – harmless, she said, and glorious in its sinuous slithering – but it cost eight thousand pesos, her allowance for two months.
She wanted to buy a furry mouse, but she knew I would shriek my abhorrence for rodents in the highest vocal register.
Memories are what she took away from that trip. Happy memories, the best kind.
I typed my given names “Jennifer Rebecca” into a search engine, and Google came up…
“Jennifer Rebecca” is the name given to a species of tropical night-blooming waterlily (left) and a reblooming (remontant) tall bearded iris (right).
And in my favorite colors too – pink and lavender. A wonderful coincidence – or just meant to be?
We may gripe and rant about how hot the Philippines is, especially big dense cities like Manila and Makati, which are over-crowded and polluted. Makati, especially, as the country’s business district, is accused of being dusty and noisy with the incessant honking of horns, and ugly with all the cement high-rises rising up to accommodate an ever-increasing population from all over the world.
That may be true. But take a good close look. Makati has lots of greenery, pocket parks and plants bursting from sidewalk and building planters. I found all these flora along a short stretch of road – along Legaspi Street from the corner of Rada to the corner of Paseo de Roxas.
Pink flowers on a strip of grass in front of an office building
Entrance to Washington Sycip Park. Brass letters spelling out the park’s name used to be installed on the rock in foreground. Now they are gone. Stolen? Taken away for safekeeping?
Another shot of the entrance to Sycip Park, from another angle. It is so interesting that you take take hundreds of different shots of this one part of the park alone. To the left is a modern sculpture; it is nicely balanced by the streetlamp on the right.
Magenta bougainvillea on a bush. I was afraid this photo would not come out nicely on my Canon Ixus point-and-shoot as it was a windy afternoon; the leaves and flowers fluttered constantly and absolutely would not keep still long enough for me to take a good picture! It turned out okay, though.
A long shot placing the bougainvillea in context – against a background of different ornamentals of varying shades. Applause for the landscape artist! In the center of the shot, between the fronds of the foliage, you can glimpse a high-rise. It almost looks as if it were ruins in the middle of a jungle…
My favorite shot of the day – white frangipani (calachuchi) blossoms and branches against an almost cloudless blue Manila sky…
Unidentified saffron-colored blooms juxtaposed against a concrete-and-glass tower.
Every Sunday the kids and I attend the second service (Traditional) at Union Church of Manila. After each service (there are three), juice, coffee, and cookies are served in the Fellowship Hall. Second Service usually has the most attendees.
My ministry is with the “First Friends”. I serve as a host in the UCM Sala, where I meet and greet newcomers, offering food and drinks. The Sala’s window looks out onto a garden.
This is the left side of the Sala, a cozy little corner with a waterfall out the window.
The entire room is long and very inviting. It’s often used for Bible Study and Small Discipleship Group meetings. It is where our Friday Small Group meets. (Do join us on Fridays at 7pm.)
After worship, the kids and I have lunch at a mall. Today it was Zaifu at Powerplant, our “home mall”. We had our usual ebi tempura, tamago maki, and dynamite roll.
When the belly-growling had subsided, off we went to our “mother ship” to browse through the latest books and pens. My latest purchase from this store (just yesterday) was The Lost Ark of the Covenant by Prof. Tudor Parfitt.
Next stop, the lobby - to gawk at the beautiful flower arrangements of a local ikebana society.
Orchids, anthuriums, fronds, ferns, and foliage were all creatively displayed in earthen, ceramic, or wooden containers to best show off the beauty of nature.
The more I look around, the more I see how wondrous are the things that God has made, and how much He loves us by heaping upon us blessing upon blessing.